Ants are one of the most invasive species of insect to plague this planet. I say plague, but yes in reality they do serve very important roles in nature. We just don’t want them in our houses, yards, or businesses. There are many different species of ants that are common to Texas but below we will be discussing the most prevalent.
Red Imported Fire Ant
The red imported fire ant (also known commonly as just fire ants) are probably the most common ant species we come across. The were originally imported from South America by accident in the 30’s and 40’s and have since spread over vast distances. This ant is best known for its painful bite and by the mounds they create in your yard. They are not difficult to treat with the right control plan. Sometimes simply treating the mounds will eliminate the problem (assuming it is done on a regular basis), however, sometimes a broad spectrum granule treatment is required to eliminate large or problematic infestations. These ants are often confused with termites as they can build similar looking dirt tubes that go into walls.
I did not include a picture of sugar ants because the name can actually describe a broad category of ants (little black, pavement, pharoah, etc. just to name a few) that are generally treated in a similar fashion. Sugar ants are small (sometimes VERY small) and range from all black bodies to almost clear in the thorax or abdomen. They are attracted to food products (typically sweets) and can be a sign that something nearby needs to be cleaned. Many times cleaning the area where they are trailing with a good cleaning solution can solve the problem. Sometimes, however, this will only change their trail and a more serious approach will be required. Treatments are usually done with a combination of baits on the inside and a liquid spray treatment around the exterior.
Carpenter ants are less common in suburban areas but out in rural areas with lots of trees, they can be a major detriment. These ants are much like termites in that they breakdown wood which can cause damage to your house or structure. They can be found under landscaping timbers or trailing on the outside of the structure. They’re also very common in wood piles and trees that have fallen or died. Treatment by a pest professional is usually required to eliminate these infestations.
These are relatively new to the area in regards to the many other species commonly found in Texas. They are also one of the most difficult to get rid of due in part due to them breeding in very large quantities at an incredible rate. They can be recognized by long trails of red ants (smaller than fire ants) and when treated can create huge mound of thousands of dead ants. They were originally brought into the Houston area from South America through the ship channel. These ants typically trail along the sides of buildings, curbs, and in cracks in concrete (though they can be found everywhere). They like to get into electrical wiring such as in cars or A/C units and can cause major electrical damage. They are treatable as long as the proper pesticides are used as using the wrong kind can cause the ants to release a pheromone that makes more of the ants come (thus increasing the problem). These ants are also referred to as tawny ants or red crazy ants.
There are several other species of ants not listed here that can cause problems. Should you have any kind of ant problem, please give us a call to schedule an inspection!